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News from 2022-2023

Posted: April 5, 2023

Board Approves Plan to Consolidate La Luz and MacArthur Elementaries

APS will also move forward with reconfiguring Corrales Elementary into a small K-8 school and turning Janet Kahn into a pure K-8 magnet school for the upcoming school year.

La Luz Elementary School.

La Luz Elementary School.

The Board of Education signed off Wednesday night on a plan to consolidate La Luz and MacArthur elementary schools next year.

La Luz students will move to MacArthur Elementary beginning in August of 2023. PreK classes currently housed at La Luz and MacArthur will move to Duranes Elementary.

The district plans to lease the La Luz campus to the Albuquerque Sign Language Academy for two years. The charter school is building a new campus and needs temporary space.

The board voted 6 to 0 for the boundary changes needed to proceed with the consolidation. Board member Danielle Gonzales was not at Wednesday’s meeting.

One of the questions APS officials have been grappling with is how small is too small for a school. La Luz currently has 131 students while MacArthur has 184 students.

In a letter sent to La Luz parents earlier this week, Associate Superintendent Amanda DeBell noted that the district has had to take steps that are less than ideal as enrollment has gone down at both schools.

“Those include such things as combination classrooms – where students from two different grades are placed in a single classroom because there otherwise wouldn’t have been enough students for the class,” she said.

DeBell said combining the schools will allow the district to eliminate – or at the very least minimize – the number of combination classrooms. She said it will also allow APS to provide enhanced access to after-school clubs and activities.

“All of these things will be good for our students, for their families and for our staff,” she said, while also noting that MacArthur and La Luz are only about a mile apart.

Corrales Elementary, Janet Kahn

The board also greenlighted several boundary changes so that the district can move forward with reconfiguring Corrales Elementary into a small K-8 school and turning Janet Kahn into a pure K-8 magnet school for the upcoming school year.

The proposal to turn Corrales Elementary into a small K-8 school of about 500 students has garnered strong support. Taxpayers have already approved funding for the school rebuild and improvement. APS plans to use those funds for the first phase, which would involve adding a sixth-grade class in the fall. Under the plan, the school’s students would eventually remain there through eighth grade rather than feeding to Taylor Middle School as they do now.

District officials say the plan is aimed, in part, at retaining more students, noting that 60% of outgoing Corrales Elementary students currently transfer out of APS for middle school. The high school feeder pattern would remain the same with eighth-graders advancing to Cibola High School.

The board also OK'd removing the attendance boundary from Janet Kahn School of Integrated Arts Magnet Elementary and turning it into a pure magnet choice K-8 school. As part of the plan, Janet Kahn will also add a sixth grade class in the fall.

The district plans to put super stops in place to accommodate students who would need to be bused in from other parts of town, although students in the current Janet Kahn Elementary attendance area would be given priority to attend the reconfigured Janet Kahn school.

Students in the Singing Arrow neighborhood who don’t want to attend Janet Kahn would be assigned to Apache Elementary. The remaining Janet Kahn student attendance area would be assigned to Bellehaven Elementary. Under the measure, Apache Elementary students will advance to Kennedy and Grant middle schools, while Bellehaven Elementary students will feed to Grant Middle School. Bellehaven Elementary and Janet Kahn K-8 students will later advance to Sandia High, while Apache Elementary students will go to Manzano High.

The lease and boundary changes are part of a larger APS effort to right-size the district due to significant enrollment drops over the last 10 years. The district last year cut hundreds of vacant positions in order to better align staffing with enrollment figures. This year it undertook an evaluation of its facilities with an eye on such things as how some schools could be repurposed to retain and recruit more students.

Many APS students leave the district for their middle school years and then return for high school. Several of the proposals being considered are aimed at giving students more options for middle school, such as K-8 magnet schools.